The Meaning Of Life

by Mark Ivar Myhre on January 14, 2008

As a child, my ‘meaning of life’ went something like this:

“God made a mistake. I’ve been sent to this Planet of Darkness, where people hurt other people just because they can; a planet of uncaring humans. Since it’s too late to change things, I’ll give up on life instead. I won’t try. I won’t participate in this awful, awful, society.”

This conclusion about life became my internal gyroscope for well over a decade. It created all sorts of problems and impeded my development for many years.

But it also illustrates just how important my ‘meaning of life’ was, and always will be.

Today, my meaning of life is much different. What about you?

I believe there is no singular meaning of life. It’s an individual answer, unique to each person on earth. For many, the meaning of life involves somehow finding food to eat for the day. In other words, the meaning of life = survival.

(And if you wish to help those less fortunate, contact me for the only charity I support; it’s a mission in Africa.)

I’m guessing more people hold some variation of this meaning over any other one, since so many humans are forced to deal with survival issues. Of the six billion individual meanings of life, maybe half concern some form of survival.

But what about you?

Whether you realize it or not, you DO HAVE a ‘meaning of life’. You have assigned a meaning to your individual existence, and to the greater existence of life you see around you.

I’ve found it quite beneficial to articulate my own meaning of life. And it’s not static. It evolves and changes as I change.

I’ve found my own meaning is like a gyroscope that guides me through life. It’s like a guidance system. It influences my behavior. It’s part of my character and my dignity. It’s my reason for living. And my reason for behaving as I do.

I use my meaning to explain why life is as it is.

It’s why I’m now an optimist, when I used to be so cynical and dour.

My meaning is logical, reasonable, and explainable.

And most important, it’s part of my foundation. Which means it’s part of my motivation.

What motivates you? Are you satisfied with your motivation? Do you own it? Do you embrace it? Would you like to understand it better? (And I hope you see that as a rhetorical question!)

To understand your motivation, look to your meaning of life. Even if you don’t consciously think about it, it’s guiding your life right now. (Along with other factors, of course.)

But your meaning of life is always self-chosen. And thus, easily under your control.

You choose your meaning. And that’s good news! Because you can choose any meaning you want.

Your meaning of life can be summed up in a few short sentences. It’s the conclusion you make after taking into account the sum total of your experiences.

Everything you perceive about life can be summed up in a short paragraph.

Or rather, it already has.

You might want to stop for a minute and consciously think about your meaning of life, since it’s greatly influencing your behavior, your motivation, your foundation, your health, and in fact, perhaps every single area of your life.

You assign the meaning to your life.

Why not get out paper and pen right now, and write out the meaning you’ve assigned to your life, and life in general? Then you can decide whether it’s the meaning you want.

What have you concluded about life?

If your meaning says, ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’ – then, gee, I wonder how your life’s going?

You can always create a new meaning.

Also, look to the many, many meanings you create around the endless events and circumstances of your life.

We assign meanings all day long: The waiter ignores you. What does that mean? Your boss looks at you funny. What does that mean? You can’t find a parking spot. What does that mean?

Usually, the little meanings come from the big meanings.

One way to create change in your life is to honestly look at what life means to you.


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